American Architecture Since 1780

American Architecture Since 1780

A Guide to the Styles

By Marcus Whiffen




The author has designed this guide not for the experienced architect but for the man in the street, for what he calls the “building watcher,” as an aid to his experiencing architecture. It is concerned entirely with the visual characteristics of the various styles as they can be seen from the outside – as the man in the street sees them. From this point of view, plans and interiors are inappropriate to the book's aim, which is to serve as a guide to architectural styles, not as a history or criticism of them. If the book inspires the building watcher to cross the threshold into a deeper understanding of the buildings and their stylistic features, into an inside-out knowledge of architecture, then so much the better.

Each style is illustrated with several photographs (there are almost 200 in all) arranged so that each group in forms visually to best advantage. The photographs are separated from identifying captions and stylistic descriptions purposely, in order that the reader may form his own intuitive composite sense of a style before being distracted – and perhaps even misled – by the details of date, place, and architect. In the same way, and for the same reasons, the descriptions precede the historical text that recounts the origins, flourishing, and decline of the styles.

Most large American cities contain examples of many (or most) of these styles, only a few of which are predominantly regional. The guide will thus prove instructive to the man around town as well as to the continental traveler.

The author (who is Professor of Architecture at Arizona State University) has provided “a glossary to diminish the need to refer to other books, and... a bibliography to facilitate reference to them.”


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262230346 313 pp. |


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262730570 313 pp. |